What You Need to Know About s3 Storage Cost

Posted on October 24, 2020 S3 Storage

Have you been looking to get some Amazon S3 storage but are just trying to decipher what all the costs are?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. 

The Amazon S3 storage cost structure can be a little bit intimidating. There are a lot of different options and different ways that you can customize your storage preferences. The differences between the pricing tiers depend on how often and how quickly you want to access your data.

But you don’t have to worry—we’ve got you covered. We’ll take you through what the different price tiers are. Also, if you’re looking for S3 cloud cost tips, we will point out what tiers are most useful depending on your needs. 

So, let’s jump right in and answer the big question: How much does S3 storage cost?

What Do the Different Price Options Mean?

There are six different AWS S3 storage cost options:

  1. S3 Standard
  2. S3 Intelligent – Tiering
  3. S3 Standard – Infrequent Access
  4. S3 One Zone – Infrequent Access
  5. S3 Glacier
  6. S3 Glacier Deep Archive

Unlike some pricing structures, the ‘standard’ option is actually the most expensive. This is because the standard option gives you the quickest access to your data. On the other hand, at the other end of the spectrum, Glacier Deep Archive is designed for people who want to store data objects for long periods of time without accessing them often. 

The reason for the price difference has to do with the technical aspects of storing data on servers. The quick-access servers (which are more expensive) allow you to get your data as soon as you need it—just like it’s your own computer. However, the Glacier options may take up to 12 hours to retrieve your data.

S3 Storage Cost Per GB

AWS S3 Storage cost options are also determined by how much data you are actually storing. It’s pretty simple—if you store more data, you will get a discount.

However, you won’t get a discount on all storage options. The long-term storage plans have a set price for all data. Have a look at the specific data plans below for the details. 

S3 Storage Cost Levels

Now we will go through each price tier one by one. Make sure you don’t just look at the price, but also check the purpose of each plan. 

S3 Standard

S3 Standard is the entry-level data plan. It is designed to be used for data that needs to be accessed regularly and quickly. If you are using cloud computing to carry out your normal IT activities on small amounts of data, this is probably your tier. 

These are the prices:

  • $0.023 per GB per month for the first 50 TB
  • $0.022 per GB per month for the next 450TB
  • $0.021 per GB per month for any data you store over 500TB

S3 Intelligent – Tiering

S3 Intelligent starts out with the same basic price structure as S3 Standard:

  • $0.023 per GB per month for the first 50 TB
  • $0.022 per GB per month for the next 450TB
  • $0.021 per GB per month for any data you store over 500TB

However, S3 Intelligent also includes an ‘infrequent access tier’ cost:

  • $0.0125 per GB per month for all data

What this means is that, if you don’t access data objects for more than 30 days, they are automatically shifted to the infrequent access tier, meaning you pay a lower rate. 

However, if you want to benefit from this money-saving feature, you need to pay a fee for the data to be monitored and automatically shifted. The monitoring fee is 

  • $0.0025 per 1000 data objects per month

An object is basically a file—whether that be a document, an image, a video, or even a software program. 

This is a good option for you if you are unsure about how often you need access to your data. You will have instant access when you need it, but get a discount if you don’t. Here are some tips on being smart with your S3 storage tiering.

S3 Standard – Infrequent Access

Infrequent Access allows you to keep data at a low rate but still gives you instant access when needed. The storage rate is the same as the money-saving tier from the Intelligent Tiering plan:

  • $0.0125 per GB per month for all data

But, with this option, you have to pay a fee for data retrieval. The fee is $0.01 per GB.

So, the idea is that you can benefit from instant access, but you are encouraged to not access the data very frequently. Amazon recommends this plan for data backups and crisis recoveries. So, if you have a data loss, you can be up and running instantly, but you don’t need to pay a lot of ongoing costs to keep that luxury.

S3 One Zone – Infrequent Access

S3 One Zone represents a 20% discount on the price of the standard Infrequent Access plan:

  • $0.01 per GB per month for all data

Its features are the same as Infrequent Access, but it only stores your data in one location (as opposed to three). 

This means that data is less reliable and endurable. However, it is a great option for secondary backups of data at a cheap cost.

S3 Glacier

The S3 Glacier option is for long-term data storage. It is much cheaper than the Standard classes because Amazon doesn’t guarantee quick access. You may have to wait up to 12 hours for your data.

However, it represents a significant discount:

  • $0.004 per GB per month for all data

S3 Glacier Deep Archive

This is Amazon’s cheapest storage option. It’s designed for data storage for 7-10 years and, like the normal Glacier option, wait times for data may be up to 12 hours. 

The main difference is that you can only access the data in this tier one or two times per year. So, when you store data in this class, you need to be sure you won’t be needing it.

The price for Glacier Deep Archive is:

  • $0.00099 per GB per month for all data

Choose the Right Option For You

Now you have a good idea of all of the S3 bucket storage costs. However, before you jump into a storage plan, make sure you think about your needs. 

The S3 Storage cost plans have been specifically designed for you to tailor your plan to your own needs. So, don’t choose the cheapest option just because it’s cheap—but also don’t choose the quick-access option if you don’t really need it. 

If you need help with finding the right storage plan, make sure you get in touch with us!

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